Beyond the Headlines- Helping Haiti: Is Aid the Cure or the Disease?
“The man next to me on the bus strikes up a conversation during a rare smooth section of road from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien.
“Are you a missionary?”
“Do you work for a NGO?”
“Then why the heck are you in Haiti?!”
He’s not surprised that I want to visit Haiti – in fact, he thinks Haiti is supremely beautiful. He is shocked, however, because almost all Westerners in Haiti work for either missionary or aid organizations.
The Republic of NGOs
Despite fifty years of receiving considerable aid, Haiti has become poorer every year.
Haiti bears the dubious honor of hosting more NGOs per capita than any other country in the world – a title it held even before the horde of new post-earthquake NGOs. Haitians – and outsiders – sarcastically refer to their country as the “Republic of NGOs.”
In cities, every other car seems to be a shiny new Toyota Land Cruiser adorned with either a UN or NGO logo. Haiti went so far as to create special license plates specifically for NGOs. UN police are omnipresent. They do not have the power to arrest anyone, but they can monopolize all the good parking spots at local bars, as I find out one evening.”- Paul Luning, Beyond the Headlines, 15 January, 2015.
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